Reformation Papacy

The papacy underwent important changes from 1517 to 1585 during the Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

History

Reformation

Antichrist1
Pope depicted as the Antichrist, signing and selling indulgences, from Passionary of the Christ and Antichrist

The institution of the papacy underwent attacks by many Protestant reformers, including Martin Luther. Luther, who had spent time in Rome,[1] said that Leo had vetoed a measure that cardinals should restrict the number of boys they kept for their pleasure, "otherwise it would have been spread throughout the world how openly and shamelessly the pope and the cardinals in Rome practice sodomy;" encouraging Germans not to spend time fighting fellow countrymen in defense of the papacy.[2]

Along with Luther, John Calvin, Thomas Cranmer and John Knox identified the Roman Papacy as the Antichrist.[3] The Centuriators of Magdeburg, a group of Lutheran scholars in Magdeburg headed by Matthias Flacius, wrote the 12-volume "Magdeburg Centuries" to discredit the papacy and identify the pope as the Antichrist. The fifth round of talks in the Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue notes,

In calling the pope the "antichrist," the early Lutherans stood in a tradition that reached back into the eleventh century. Not only dissidents and heretics but even saints had called the bishop of Rome the "antichrist" when they wished to castigate his abuse of power.[4]

The four most important traditions to emerge directly from the reformation were the Lutheran tradition, the Reformed/Calvinist/Presbyterian tradition, the Anabaptist tradition, and the Anglican tradition. Subsequent Protestant traditions generally trace their roots back to these initial four schools of the Reformation. It also led to the Catholic or Counter Reformation within the Roman Catholic Church. Lutherans, Reformed, Anabaptists, and Methodists all included references to the Papacy as the Antichrist in their confessions of faith:

Smalcald Articles, Article four (1537)

...the Pope is the very Antichrist, who has exalted himself above, and opposed himself against Christ because he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power, which, nevertheless, is nothing, and is neither ordained nor commanded by God. This is, properly speaking to exalt himself above all that is called God as Paul says, 2 Thess. 2, 4. Even the Turks or the Tartars, great enemies of Christians as they are, do not do this, but they allow whoever wishes to believe in Christ, and take bodily tribute and obedience from Christians... Therefore, just as little as we can worship the devil himself as Lord and God, we can endure his apostle, the Pope, or Antichrist, in his rule as head or lord. For to lie and to kill, and to destroy body and soul eternally, that is wherein his papal government really consists... The Pope, however, prohibits this faith, saying that to be saved a person must obey him. This we are unwilling to do, even though on this account we must die in God's name. This all proceeds from the fact that the Pope has wished to be called the supreme head of the Christian Church by divine right. Accordingly he had to make himself equal and superior to Christ, and had to cause himself to be proclaimed the head and then the lord of the Church, and finally of the whole world, and simply God on earth, until he has dared to issue commands even to the angels in heaven...[5]

Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope (1537)

...Now, it is manifest that the Roman pontiffs, with their adherents, defend [and practice] godless doctrines and godless services. And the marks [all the vices] of Antichrist plainly agree with the kingdom of the Pope and his adherents. For Paul, in describing Antichrist to the Thessalonians, calls him 2 Thess. 2, 3: an adversary of Christ, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God. He speaks therefore of one ruling in the Church, not of heathen kings, and he calls this one the adversary of Christ, because he will devise doctrine conflicting with the Gospel, and will assume to himself divine authority...[6]

Westminster Confession (1646)

25.6. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalts himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.[7]

Counter-Reformation

The Catholic Church did not mount an organized and deliberate response to the Protestant Reformation until the election (1534) of Pope Paul III, who placed the papacy itself at the head of a movement for churchwide reform. Pope Paul III established a reform commission, appointed several leading reformers to the College of Cardinals, initiated reform of the central administrative apparatus at Rome, authorized the founding of the Jesuits, the order that was later to prove so loyal to the papacy, and convoked the Council of Trent, which met intermittently from 1545 to 1563. The council succeeded in initiating a number of far-ranging moral and administrative reforms, including reform of the papacy itself, that was destined to define the shape and set the tone of Roman Catholicism into the mid-20th century.

Such reforms included the foundation of seminaries for the proper training of priests in the spiritual life and the theological traditions of the Church, the reform of religious life to returning orders to their spiritual foundations, and new spiritual movements focus on the devotional life and a personal relationship with Christ, including the Spanish mystics and the French school of spirituality.

Pope Paul III (1534–1549) initiated the Council of Trent (1545–1563), a commission of cardinals tasked with institutional reform, to address contentious issues such as corrupt bishops and priests, indulgences, and other financial abuses. The Council clearly rejected specific Protestant positions and upheld the basic structure of the Medieval Church, its sacramental system, religious orders, and doctrine. It rejected all compromise with the Protestants, restating basic tenets of the Catholic faith. The Council clearly upheld the dogma of salvation appropriated by Christ lived out by faith and works. Transubstantiation, during which the consecrated bread and wine were held to become (substantially) the body and blood of Christ, was upheld, along with the Seven Sacraments. Other practices that drew the ire of Protestant reformers, such as indulgences, pilgrimages, the veneration of saints and relics, and the veneration of the Virgin Mary were strongly reaffirmed as spiritually vital as well.

But while the basic structure of the Church was reaffirmed, there were noticeable changes to answer complaints that the Counter Reformers tacitly were willing to admit were legitimate. Among the conditions to be corrected by Catholic reformers was the growing divide between the priests and the flock; many members of the clergy in the rural parishes, after all, had been poorly educated. Often, these rural priests did not know Latin and lacked opportunities for proper theological training (addressing the education of priests had been a fundamental focus of the humanist reformers in the past). Parish priests now became better educated, while Papal authorities sought to eliminate the distractions of the monastic churches. Notebooks and handbooks thus became common, describing how to be good priests and confessors.

Thus, the Council of Trent was dedicated to improving the discipline and administration of the Church. The worldly excesses of the secular Renaissance church, epitomized by the era of Alexander VI (1492–1503), exploded in the Reformation under Pope Leo X (1513–1521), whose campaign to raise funds in the German states to rebuild St. Peter's Basilica by supporting sale of indulgences was a key impetus for Martin Luther's 95 Theses. But the Catholic Church would respond to these problems by a vigorous campaign of reform, inspired by earlier Catholic reform movements that predated the Council of Constance (1414–1417): humanism, devotionalism, legalist and the observatine tradition.

The Council, by virtue of its actions, repudiated the pluralism of the Secular Renaissance Church: the organization of religious institutions was tightened, discipline was improved, and the parish was emphasized. The appointment of Bishops for political reasons was no longer tolerated. In the past, the large landholdings forced many bishops to be "absent bishops" who at times were property managers trained in administration. Thus, the Council of Trent combated "absenteeism," which was the practice of bishops living in Rome or on landed estates rather than in their dioceses. The Council of Trent also gave bishops greater power to supervise all aspects of religious life. Zealous prelates such as Milan's Archbishop Carlo Borromeo (1538–1584), later canonized as a saint, set an example by visiting the remotest parishes and instilling high standards. At the parish level, the seminary-trained clergy who took over in most places during the course of the seventeenth century were overwhelmingly faithful to the church's rule of celibacy.

The reign of Pope Paul IV (1555–1559) is associated with efforts of Catholic renewal. Paul IV is sometimes deemed the first of the Counter-Reformation popes for his resolute determination to eliminate all "heresies" - and the institutional practices of the Church that contributed to its appeal. Two of his key strategies were the Inquisition and censorship of prohibited books. The Inquisition, reorganized under Paul III, developed under Paul IV into an awesome instrument, even accused for Catholic cardinals Jacopo Sadoleto, Reginald Pole and Giovanni Morone, who spent several years in inquisition jail. In Calabria a bloody persecution of Waldensians was carried out. In Rome, Ignatius of Loyola was openly afraid of Paul IV.[8] The Inquisition was most severe in Spanish controlled areas. There existed a huge difference between the Spanish inquisition and the Papal inquisition,[8] the latter being milder and even sought after, to avoid the Spanish alternative. In this sense, his aggressive and autocratic efforts of renewal greatly reflected the strategies of earlier reform movements, especially the legalist and observantine sides: burning heretics and strict emphasis on Canon law. It also reflected the rapid pace toward absolutism that characterized the sixteenth century.

While the aggressive authoritarian approach was arguably destructive of personal religious experience, a new wave of reforms and orders conveyed a strong devotional side. Devotionalism, not subversive mysticism would provide a strong individual outlet for religious experience, especially through meditation such as the reciting of the Rosary. The devotional side of the Counter-Reformation combined two strategies of Catholic Renewal. For one, the emphasis of God as an unknowable absolute ruler - a God to be feared - coincided well with the aggressive absolutism of the papacy under Paul IV. But it also opened up new paths toward popular piety and individual religious experience.

The Papacy of St. Pius V (1566–1572) represented a strong effort not only to crack down against heretics and worldly abuses within the Church, but also to improve popular piety in a determined effort to stem the appeal of Protestantism. Pius V was trained in a solid and austere piety by the Dominicans. It is thus no surprise that he began his pontificate by giving large alms to the poor, charity, and hospitals rather than focusing on patronage. As pontiff, he practiced the virtues of a monk. Known for consoling the poor and sick, St. Pius V sought to improve the public morality of the Church, promote the Jesuits, support the Inquisition. He enforced the observance of the discipline of the Council of Trent, and supported the missions of the New World. The Spanish Inquisition, brought under the direction of the absolutist Spanish state since Ferdinand and Isabella, stemmed the growth of Protestantism in Spain before it could spread.

Aftermath

The pontificate of Pope Sixtus V (1585–1590) opened up the final stage of the Catholic Reformation characteristic of the Baroque age of the early seventeenth century, shifting away from compelling to attracting. His reign focused on rebuilding Rome as a great European capital and Baroque city, a visual symbol for the Catholic Church.

Notes

  1. ^ Mullett 2015, p. 281.
  2. ^ Wilson 2007, p. 282; This allegation (made in the pamphlet Warnunge D. Martini Luther/ An seine lieben Deudschen, Wittenberg, 1531) is in stark contrast to Luther's earlier praise of Leo's "blameless life" in a conciliatory letter of his to the pope dated 6 September 1520 and published as a preface to his Freedom of a Christian. See on this, Hillerbrand 2007, p. 53.
  3. ^ Calvin, John (1536). "Of the Beginning and Rise of the Romish Papacy, Till It Attained a Height by Which the Liberty of the Church Was Destroyed, and All True Rule Overthrown". Institutes of the Christian Religion. Translated by Henry Beveridge. Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society (published 1845). Book 4, Chapter 7.
  4. ^ See Building Unity, edited by Burgess and Gross
  5. ^ Smalcald Articles, Article 4 in the Triglot translation of the Book of Concord
  6. ^ Treatise on the Power and in the Triglot translation of the Book of Concord
  7. ^ Col. 1:18; Matt. 28:18-20; Eph. 4:11-12; 2 Thess. 2:2-9
  8. ^ a b Franzen 317
Crescentii

The Crescentii clan (in modern Italian Crescenzi) — if they were an extended family — essentially ruled Rome and controlled the Papacy from 965 until the nearly simultaneous deaths of their puppet pope Sergius IV and the patricius of the clan in 1012.

Index of Vatican City-related articles

This is an index of Vatican City-related topics.

List of popes (graphical)

This is a graphical list of the popes of the Roman Catholic Church.

While the term pope (Latin: Papa, 'Father') is used in several churches to denote their high spiritual leaders, in English usage, this title generally refers to the supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church and of the Holy See. The title itself has been used officially by the head of the Church since the tenure of Pope Siricius.

There have been 266 popes, as listed by the Annuario Pontificio (Pontifical Yearbook) under the heading 'I Sommi Pontefici Romani' (The Supreme Pontiffs of Rome). Some sources quote a number of 267, with the inclusion of Stephen II, who died four days after his election but before his episcopal consecration. However, only 264 (or 265) men have occupied the chair of Saint Peter, as Benedict IX held the office thrice on separate occasions in the mid–11th century.

The pope bears the titles

Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, Servant of the Servants of Godand is officially styled 'His Holiness'.

Since the Lateran Treaty of 1929, the pope's temporal title has been Sovereign of the Vatican City State.

Orvieto Papacy

Orvieto, Umbria, Italy, was the refuge of five popes during the 13th century: Urban IV (1261–1264), Gregory X (1271–1276), Martin IV (1281–1285), Nicholas IV (1288–1292) and Boniface VIII (1294–1303). During this time, the popes took up residence in the Papal Palace of Orvieto (also known as Palazzo Soliano), which was adjacent to the Orvieto Cathedral and expanded onto the bishop's residence. None of these popes died in Orvieto, and thus no papal elections took place in there, nor are there any papal tombs.

Political and strategic reasons motivated the frequent moves of the pope and Roman Curia during this period, and other destinations include Viterbo and Perugia. Urban IV and Martin IV resided in both Viterbo and Orvieto. During the period from the reign of Nicholas IV to Benedict XI (1303–1304), Orvieto hosted the pope more frequently than Rome.

Art historian Gary M. Radke notes that "the papal palaces in Viterbo and Orvieto are the most extensive thirteenth-century papal palaces to survive to our own day." He dates the frescoes in the palace to the 1290s, during the reign of Nicholas IV or Boniface VIII. They display naturalistic impulses in the Gothic style.

Pope-elect Stephen

Pope-elect Stephen (d. 26 March 752) was a Roman priest elected pope in March 752 to succeed Zachary; he died of a stroke a few days later, before being consecrated a bishop. Therefore, he is not listed as a pope in the Annuario Pontificio.

In 745, Pope Zachary had made him a cardinal-priest, with the titulus of San Crisogono, the same titulus later held by Cardinal Frederick of Lorraine, who became Pope Stephen IX.

Pope Agatho

Pope Agatho (died January 681) served as the Pope from 27 June 678 until his death in 681. He heard the appeal of Wilfrid of York, who had been displaced from his See by the division of the Archdiocese ordered by Theodore of Canterbury. During Agatho's tenure, the Sixth Ecumenical Council was convened which dealt with the monothelitism controversy. He is venerated as a saint by both the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Pope Alexander III

Pope Alexander III (c. 1100/1105 – 30 August 1181), born Roland of Siena, was Pope from 7 September 1159 to his death in 1181.

Pope Boniface II

Pope Boniface II (Latin: Bonifatius II; d. 17 October 532) was the first Germanic pope. He reigned from 17 September 530 until his death in 532. He was born an Ostrogoth.

Pope Caius

Pope Caius (died 22 April 296), also called Gaius, was the Bishop of Rome from 17 December 283 to his death in 296. Christian tradition makes him a native of the Dalmatian city of Salona, today Solin near Split, the son of a man also named Caius, and a member of a noble family related to the Emperor Diocletian.Little information on Caius is available except that given by the Liber Pontificalis, which relies on a legendary account of the martyrdom of St. Susanna for its information. According to legend, Caius baptized the men and women who had been converted by Saint Tiburtius (who is venerated with St. Susanna) and Saint Castulus. His legend states that Caius took refuge in the catacombs of Rome and died a martyr.

Pope Conon

Pope Conon (d. 21 September 687) was Pope from 21 October 686 to his death in 687. He had been put forward as a compromise candidate, there being a conflict between the two factions resident in Rome— the military and the clerical. On his death, Conon was buried in the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Peter. He consecrated the Irish missionary Kilian a bishop and commissioned him to preach in Franconia.

Pope Gregory XI

Pope Gregory XI (Latin: Gregorius; c. 1329 – 27 March 1378) was Pope from 30 December 1370 to his death in 1378. He was the seventh and last Avignon pope and the most recent French pope. In 1377, Gregory XI returned the Papal court to Rome, ending nearly 70 years of papal residency in Avignon, France. His death shortly after was followed by the Western Schism.

Pope Leo V

Pope Leo V (d. February 904) was Pope from July 903 to his death in 904. He was pope during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum. He was thrown into prison in September 903 by the Antipope Christopher, and was probably killed at the start of the pontificate of Pope Sergius III. If his deposition is not considered valid (as in the modern Vatican list), then his papacy may be considered to have ended with his death in 904.

Pope Leo VI

Pope Leo VI (880 – 12 February 929) was Pope for just over seven months, from June 928 to his death in February 929. His pontificate occurred during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum.

Pope Linus

Linus ( (listen); died c. AD 76) was the second Bishop of Rome, and is listed by the Catholic Church as the second pope.

His papacy lasted from c. AD 67 to his death. Among those to have held the position of pope, Peter, Linus and Clement are specifically mentioned in the New Testament.Linus is mentioned in the closing greeting of the Second Epistle to Timothy as being with Paul in Rome near the end of Paul's life.

Pope Pelagius II

Pope Pelagius II (d. 7 February 590) was Pope from 26 November 579 to his death in 590.

Pope Romanus

Pope Romanus (died November 897) was Pope from August to November 897.

Pope Urban I

Pope Urban I (Latin: Urbanus I) was Bishop of Rome or Pope from 222 to 23 May 230. He was born in Rome and succeeded Pope Callixtus I, who had been martyred. It was previously believed for centuries that Urban I was also martyred. However, recent historical discoveries now lead scholars to believe that he died of natural causes.

Pope Victor I

Pope Victor I (Birth year not known - died 199) was Bishop of Rome and hence a pope, in the late second century (189-199 A.D.). He was of Berber origin. The dates of his tenure are uncertain, but one source states he became pope in 189 and gives the year of his death as 199. He was the first bishop of Rome born in the Roman Province of Africa—probably in Leptis Magna (or Tripolitania). He was later considered a saint. His feast day was celebrated on 28 July as "St Victor I, Pope and Martyr".

Popes during the Age of Revolution

The modern history of the papacy is shaped by the two largest dispossessions of papal property in its history, stemming from the French and its spread to Europe, including Italy.

1st–4th centuries
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
5th–8th centuries
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
9th–12th centuries
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
13th–16th centuries
Viterbo (1257–1281)
Orvieto (1262–1297)
Perugia (1228–1304)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
17th–20th centuries
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
21st century
History of the papacy

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